Walking vs Backyard Time
Walking vs. Backyard Time
Having a fenced in backyard for potty breaks and exercise is convenient, especially in these busy times. It’s also a furtastic way to get fresh air and exercise in a safe environment. But, still, walking your dog has a long list of physical and mental benefits contributing to your dog’s overall well being.
You can learn how to balance yard time and walking to make sure your pup gets the exercise, bonding and mental stimulation they need.
Is the Backyard Enough for your Furever Friend?
Letting your dog run around in the backyard is a good supplement to walking your dog. Dogs thrive on smelling, feeling and hearing new and different things. They need the mental stimulation this provides. Only using the backyard for your dog;s exercise can lead to issues. Without the variety a walk provides, dogs can get bored and frustrated. It can lead to destructive behaviors and even escape attempts. It is not uncommon for some backyard dogs to show territorial behaviors such as rushing at the fence and barking loudly at the fence when people or other pets pass by.
It can also cause a dog to become sheltered. They can feel uncomfortable and less confident with new people, pets and experiences if not exposed on a regularly.
A fenced in yard can provide them with exercise as walking does. It’s a great safe place to let your pup burn off that energy and run full tilt. Always be sure that your yard is secure so that animals cannot escape.
What Walking Provides that a Yard Does Not
Dog walking provides not only a host of physical health benefits but also enrichment, socialization and training. Taking dogs on a hike or walk is essential to their mental well being because dogs are curious explorers by nature.
Dr. Pam Reid, a certified applied animal behaviorist (CAAB), says “Walks are great for providing the mental stimulation that comes from visiting places outside the familiar backyard. Sniff walks (allowing the dog to set the pace and stop and sniff wherever she likes) are particularly gratifying to dogs.”
Leash walking your dog is important in developing social skills. “They see, and perhaps even get to meet, unfamiliar adults, children, dogs, and other pets. They become comfortable with motorcycles and bicycles zipping by, kids on skateboards, and just about anything else you can imagine!”, she adds.
Leash walking requires you to be present with your dog, strengthening the bond. It is never enjoyable walking a dog that is pulling or zig zagging all over, which will motivate you to work on leash training your pup.
The Right Balance
Of course, the right balance of backyard time and walks will be unique to your family and needs. The most important thing to remember is that exercise is a necessary part of a well rounded doggy life. Younger, more active dogs will require more walks and or runs than a lower energy older dog.
If you are heading out for a while, a walk is by far the better option for emptying your dog’s bladder. The movement coupled with the different and new smells will encourage them to go quicker than in the familiar backyard.
What to Do if You are not Available
We all have responsibilities. We all have busy schedules. When your time is limited, reach out to your local pet sitter to help. We are here to provide the love and care your pet needs when you can’t.